Labour 2024 manifesto: fact checked

12 June 2024

On 13 June, the Labour party launched its 2024 manifesto

Our fact checking team has been combing through the 136-page document with the help of Full Fact’s AI tools, and we’ve looked at several claims, including on knife crime, child poverty and the armed forces.

Honesty in public debate matters

You can help us take action – and get our regular free email

Tax burden

The Labour manifesto claims the Conservatives have raised the so-called ‘tax burden’ to “a 70-year high”. 

This was true in 2022/23. It’s since fallen slightly, but is forecast to increase over each of the next five years to a near-record level. 

We wrote about this last month. 

Knife crime

Our AI tools identified a further claim from the manifesto: that “knife crime has been rising for a decade”. 

Although the most recent data supports this, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) warns against making comparisons over time due to changes in the way data on such crimes has been captured by police forces in recent years. 

The ONS says: “Increases in these offences since 2015 will be partly because of a genuine increase in these offences and partly because of improvements in recording.”

We wrote a fact check about a similar claim in March. 

Armed forces

Another manifesto claim relates to defence, with Labour saying: “the Conservatives have hollowed out our armed forces”.

A decline in the number of military personnel is supported by government statistics which show that in April 2024 there were 129,760 fully trained personnel in the armed forces, down 27% since 2010.

In that time, the number of fully trained personnel in the Army fell by 29%, the Royal Navy by 19% and the Royal Air Force by 29%. 

Child poverty

The manifesto also claims: “Child poverty has gone up by 700,000 under the Conservatives with over four million children now growing up in a low-income family.”

There are different ways of measuring poverty, some of which show increases, though at least one measure shows similar levels of child poverty in 2022/23 as when the Conservatives took office. 

When politicians talk about poverty they are often referring to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures on relative low income and absolute low income. 

Relative low income measures the number of people in households where the income is below 60% of the national median average that year. Absolute low income measures the number of people in households where the income is below 60% of the average median level in 2010/11, adjusted for inflation. Each measure is shown both before and after housing costs.

The 700,000 figure mentioned in the manifesto appears to be comparing the latest data for children in relative poverty after housing costs with 2010/11 (the first year of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government). DWP figures show approximately 4.3 million children were in relative poverty after housing costs in 2022/23, compared to 3.6 million in 2010/11—an increase of 700,000. 

However, the number of children in absolute poverty after housing costs has not changed significantly over this period. It was 3.6 million in 2022/23, which is the same rounded figure as in the first year of a Conservative government in 2010/11. 

The number of children in both relative and absolute poverty before housing costs has increased since 2010/11 by approximately 900,000 and 300,000 respectively.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.